Milan in November – what is Italy’s comparative advantage in the winter?

Veröffentlicht auf von André

In my development economics class, we’re just discussing the concept of comparative advantage (did that in Maastricht last year, but so be it). The idea of comparative advantage is pretty easy: Countries should specialize in a business sector in which they are best. Italy is very good in sun, temperature and beach. So in the summer they attract tourists like hell. I counted sooo many foreign license plates when we went on a bike trip through Tuscany in early September!! Especially German, French and Dutch tourists. In the summer, Italy is THE place to go! Its comparative advantage is huge!

I didn’t expect comparative advantage to drop to zero in the second week of October. But since 15th October, you might as well go to Germany, the Netherlands or Denmark. There’s no difference any more. Milan is cold, rainy, the sun is hiding behind the clouds…you don’t quite feel like sitting in the park with a bottle of wine any more. Italy totally lost its comparative advantage.

And hot exciting Erasmus life shifted from the park into the basement of our residence. That’s nice as well, but it’s not the same thing. The outside parties are over until next April.

So what does a country do if its comparative advantage diminishes? It tries to find another one. What could be Italy’s comparative advantage in the winter? The café terraces are empty, going for coffee has lost its charm. Movies come to Italy about three months after they have come to Germany, France or the Netherlands. No advantage here either. One thing I can think of is going to the disco, which continues in spite of the weather. Italian discos are nice, Italians really take you along when they celebrate, the music is different but ok – that definitely is a comparative advantage.

Going to the stadium is another one. Regardless of the weather, Milanese stand in the ranks to cheer on their two teams. Both teams are well placed in the first Italian division and also participate in European championships. So the Milanese have a lot that distracts them from daily life.

Another distraction should begin very soon: I’m very excited to see what the Italians will pull out for Christmas. Last week I was in Germany, where Christmas decorations are already up. I haven’t seen them in Milan yet, but it can only be a matter of days now. How will they prepare for the biggest celebration of the year, in the home country of the Catholic Church, in a country where celebrating is an art for itself?

Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you in my next entry!

Veröffentlicht in Milan

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